Review by Aurora Nibley
It’s getting colder outside, and the Oscar grabs are beginning to emerge from where they’ve been hiding all summer behind movies filled with explosions and superheroes. Most people don’t have time to watch all of the Oscar contenders, and if you are one of those busy people with limited time, the movie that you should put right at the top of your list is Argo.
Based on a true story that was classified for nearly twenty years and then forgotten for fifteen more, Argo follows the story of a CIA agent (Ben Affleck) whose main job is to get people out of other countries when those countries don’t want to let them go. This is the trickiest and most dangerous job of his career – during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, six diplomats managed to escape the building. But they weren’t able to escape the country, and they can’t get out without help.
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Ben Affleck also directed the movie, and while his acting chops are solid (despite some dubious choices in the past), directing is where he really shines. The story is extremely well-paced and engaging throughout, and he handles a large cast deftly – the audience always knows who’s who in the story, and what they’re supposed to be doing; these are details that often get muddy in movies that involve government agents, or that don’t have a great amount of time to introduce every character as an individual, but in Argo, whenever anybody in is on screen you know exactly what they’re doing and why, as long as you don’t blink.
Another reason that Argo is so powerful is that it really manages to capture the time period. I have always been annoyed by movies that are supposed to take place in the past, but somehow everyone has a modern-day haircut. There are no such problems here. As the closing titles roll, Affleck shows us still shots from the movie next to photographs taken when the actual events were playing out, giving the audience a look at his source material, and also showing how true the story was to real history. I have my doubts as to whether the more suspenseful moments of the film were actually quite such close calls as what we saw in the theatre, but I’m sure they were close enough, for the people who had to live through them.
Now I’m going to say what everyone else is saying: What an unbelievable story! How amazing that it’s actually true! It’s so incredible that we didn’t even know about this! Well. A few people knew. And now a lot of people will. You should be one of them. Go see Argo.
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